According to the latest research she presents in her book, love is not so much a noun but rather a verb. It is something that emerges in micro-moments of interactions between living beings, when they share a positive emotion, resonate with it in synchrony and build on it to deeply care about each other.
In other words, love is in-between.
This view mirrors the stance of Solution-Focused practitioners when we say that solutions and change and the future all emerge in-between, in the space of dialogue and interaction, rather than being determined by inner drives or outer social pressures.
Seeing how SF and current Positive Psychology thought are somehow converging on this interactional view was quite interesting to behold.
One of the key principles of Solution-Focus practice is that “The Action is in the Inter-Action”, as Mark McKergow and Paul Z Jackson brilliantly put it. Which means that we “co-construct” meaning and solutions in the interaction.
This is where microanalysis comes in. Pioneered and extensively used by Janet Beavin Bavelas and her research group at the University of Victoria, microanalysis is defined as “the detailed and reliable examination of observable communication sequences as they proceed, moment by moment, in the dialogue”….
Solution Focus is not about finding THE solution for a problem, it’s about a useful interaction that leaves the client changed: with more hope, with more creative ideas, with a feeling of competence, with a clearer view on possibilities.
I think this is an important distinction that goes a long way in making clear what Solution-Focus is and what Solution-Focus is not.
In this paper I argue that Solution-Focused interviewing protocols are evolutionary algorithms deployed in conversations.
My paper is an attempt to put Solution-Focus firmly within the context of mainstream science.
My central claim is that just like Evolution is a theory in the sense that it provides a “recipe” for the emergence of life forms and their adaptations, so SF is a theory in the sense that it provides a “recipe” for the emergence of solutions and useful adaptations within the context of a conversation.
Evolution and SF are both algorithms rather than theoretical constructs.
I hope this paper will generate some debate within and without the SF community.
I am open to any feedback you guys might have.
Anything that could bring us closer to the goal of establishing a comprehensive science-based coaching discipline.
In it you can find my newest peer reviewed paper: Solution-Focused Interviewing Protocols as Evolutionary Algorithms.
Here is the abstract:
Darwin’s algorithm has been shown to be Nature’s way of exploring the “solution space” for problems related to survival and reproduction. This paper shows how SF conversations (as used in therapy and brief coaching) can be framed as a Darwinian algorithm to explore the “solution space” for the problems clients bring to the session.
Here you can find some ideas from which the paper originated.
Hoping to put Solution-Focused practice on more solid epistemological grounding, within mainstream science!
The connection between emotions and repertoire of actions, as the author points out, “may provide an explanation for some forms of “stuckness”.
Of course! Clients shift from a system (a constellation of emotion – thoughts – behaviors) primed to a specific action to another system, where they can play around and get unstuck… it is their inner game, literally.
Moreover, the article very brilliantly gave me an answer re another question I had: I am “re-discovering” the power of letting clients dwell in their “preferred future”; so, is my practice just a “feel good” trick?
No, SF is a way to “broaden” clients’ perceptions. Feeling good follows, once clients get “unstuck” and are able to access their memory of the (successful) past experiences and of the (preferred) future.
SF is a respectful way to elicit positive emotions (vs. “positive thinking”): in SF we invite clients to explore the whole situation with a lot of details, therefore noticing the positive, while in “positive thinking” the practitioner rams the positive he or she sees into the throat of the client.
Another point that really resonated with me was about the transfer of some SF practices in organizations: Carey is right, sometimes we are shy (or at least I am) about asking the miracle question in organizational settings. I get intimated myself by the business suits and the million-euros budgets. I feel the need to be “practical”. But that can be a mistake. Now I have some form of evidence that I should stick to things that work, like the miracle question. And actually, in the executive coaching session that most made me happy recently, I did go SF all the way, miracle question included, and it worked: the client wanted to at least get a handle of one big problem (and it would take many sesisons, he thought, to work on that). In a little over an hour, he “solved” that and two lesser problems, on top of it!